It’s been an eventful first 10 months as a soldier for Trooper Charlie Pocklington.
From job to vocation, he made the transformation from labourer to armoured cavalry with the Light Dragoons, which took on the role of enemy force as they tested integration between NATO troops and the Estonian Defence Forces during a major month-long training exercise.
Exercise Spring Storm, the largest in Europe this year with 14,000 land, sea and air personnel from 11 NATO countries, demonstrated interoperability in multi-domain training scenarios.
It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Trooper Charlie Pocklington
The 21-year-old, from March in Cambridgeshire, said: “I was a labourer on a building site before. I wanted something more varied, wanted to travel, I’m well into fitness, so thought the Army would be good for that.
“My first exercise was Galloping Dragoon in Scotland and then I was on the main parade for the King’s Coronation.
“It was pretty unreal. The amount of people and the atmosphere there was phenomenal. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. My family were well proud and well happy about it.”
It’s everything you join the Army for. Trooper Charlie Pocklington
Speaking while on the largest military exercise in Europe this year, NATO’s Exercise Spring Storm, held between May 15 to 26, to which he deployed just two days after the Coronation, Charlie said: “It’s a lot different going from polishing your shoes and ironing your uniform to putting cam (camouflage) cream on and setting up operating procedures. It’s good. I like the variation.
“It’s everything you join the Army for, working with other countries is a great experience.”
The Light Dragoons is a light cavalry regiment in the Adaptive Force that carries out many roles, from scouting for information to engaging enemy targets and using the Jackal 2 fighting vehicles and other tactical, lightweight equipment to deploy anywhere in the world.
It’s taken me to the next level. Trooper Charlie Pocklington
The former Neale-Wade Academy pupil said: “I’ve already done two sets of adventure training. I was in the Army’s under-23 football team and the gym facilities are excellent.
“Since joining, it has definitely helped my confidence. It’s taken me to the next level. I’d say to anyone thinking of joining, look into it, see what you want to do and go for it.”
The UK rehearsed the reinforcement of the enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup (eFP) Estonia to Brigade-level strength alongside its French allies last month.
The British Army’s 7 Light Mechanised Brigade Combat Team HQ and Light Dragoons Battlegroup joined the Queen’s Royal Hussars for Exercise Spring Storm.
Participating countries in Exercise Spring Storm were UK, Estonia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and USA.
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